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Showing posts from 2019

Barnacles on the Whale

Heat mixes with sewer gases as I finish fighting over the fare with a taxi driver. I find it surprising that I still live in Cartagena, Colombia. Cartagena has all the trimmings of a great tourist spot; all wrapped up in a pretty travel website, filled with vibrant Latin-Afro-Caribbean culture. Drumbeats and rapid-fire Spanish penetrate the air. Seafood is caught right off a fortress wall the Spanish built 300 years ago. Fishermen in wooden canoes with tattered sheets for sails are straight out of a scene from Hemingway´s Old Man and the Sea. Sipping cocktails at sunset from a former Spanish guard’s perch inspires even the most seasoned traveler.The glare of the sun on the ocean can only conceal the crime, poverty, and corruption for so long. The city’s barnacles start to cut and scrape at any long-term visitor’s feet. In 2010, I arrived to Cartagena as a Peace Corps volunteer and never left. After working in all sort of schools and marrying a Colombian, I am still stricken by the co-e…